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Telangana's phone tapping case hits a roadblock

Reiterating that he had no role in the alleged phone tapping, the main accused T Prabhakar Raosaid, “I have not committed nor directed anyone to commit any illegal acts or omissions while discharging my duties as a police officer at any time including as chief of the Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB).”

News Arena Network - Hyderabad - UPDATED: July 11, 2024, 05:24 AM - 4 mins read

Telangana's phone tapping case hits a roadblock


The sensational phone-tapping scandal in Telangana, allegedly involving the top leaders of the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) regime, has hit a roadblock. The main accused in the case and former Intelligence Bureau chief T Prabhakar Rao, currently in the United States, continues to dodge the investigators. 

 

Though a Look Out Circular (LOC) was issued against the senior IPS officer in March, he has been repeatedly postponing his return to India to be available for questioning, citing ill health.

 

Rao, allegedly the mastermind in the snooping operation targeting the opposition leaders, social activists, journalists and even high court judges, was supposed to return to India by June 26 but he again wrote a letter to the investigating officers informing them of further delay in travelling due to his worsening health condition.

 

Reiterating that he had no role in the alleged phone tapping, the top cop said, “I have not committed nor directed anyone to commit any illegal acts or omissions while discharging my duties as a police officer at any time including as chief of the Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB).”

 

He claimed that his health deteriorated further due to the stress he had been subjected to because of the case. “False allegations against me with constant deliberate leaks to the media, thereby assassinating my character and reputation even prior to making me an accused in this case.”

 

Assuring that he was willing to provide any information exclusive to his knowledge and possession through email, Rao noted, “I don’t think that my non-appearance before the investigating officer at an earlier point of time will hamper the investigation in any way as it is already evident from the outcome of the investigation and filing of the chargesheet.”

 

In the affidavit submitted in the High Court recently,  the Hyderabad police said the former SIB chief formed an informal team – “Special Operations Team” – within the SIB for carrying out certain specific tasks related to political surveillance to benefit the then ruling BRS and its leaders.

 

Suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police Praneeth Rao of SIB and his team developed profiles of hundreds of people, and intercepted hundreds of phone calls of several persons, it said.

 

The accused made requests to telecom service providers for call data records and Internet Protocol Detail Records (IPDRs) in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act and IT Act, and later, anticipating a change in the government, destroyed all the evidence of their illegal activities.

 

The accused had obtained CDR and IPDR of phone numbers of a High Court judge and his wife, the affidavit said, adding that they obtained CDRs for a period of one year from 10 September 2022 to 9 September 2023 and the IPDR obtained was from 8 August to 7 September 2023.

 

Already, five police officers have been arrested in the case involving the illegal tapping of phones of the opposition Congress leaders, businessmen and others when BRS was in power between 2014 and 2023. Those arrested included former Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Commissioner's Task Force, P Radhakishan Rao. He was the chief security officer to former Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and was later the special task force chief in the city.

 

Radhakishan Rao confessed before the police that his team had not only tapped the phones of opposition leaders and others but also facilitated the ‘transport of money bags in police vehicles’ on behalf of the BRS leaders during elections.

 

“We did all this at the behest of top BRS leadership,” he admitted. According to the remand report filed by the police, the arrested cop also revealed that a team of senior police officials was entrusted with the task of tapping the phones of the opposition Congress leaders. 

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